Are Mushrooms Good for Weight Loss?

Edible mushrooms have become a hot topic in the health world in recent years. Although you might be familiar with the button and chestnut varieties widely available at the grocery store, there are many more types with a whole host of health benefits. Certain edible mushrooms can be a fantastic addition to your diet if you're attempting to lose weight.

Key takeaways:

In this article you'll learn about some of the best edible mushrooms for weight loss and how to incorporate more of these delicious, nutritional powerhouses into your diet.

Best edible mushrooms for weight loss

If you are on a weight loss journey it's likely you'll already be well-versed in the importance of considering calories, protein, and fiber in your diet and meal planning. Here are some of the top edible mushrooms in terms of characteristics that support weight loss. Some of these mushrooms are also classed as medicinal mushrooms and aren't usually consumed raw or cooked — they are usually taken in a blended tincture or in powdered form.

Chaga

Chaga mushrooms are well known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also adaptogenic which means they may lower cortisol — the stress hormone — which is important for managing overall health. They are extremely high in fiber which could benefit gut health.

However, Chaga mushrooms are a type of medicinal mushroom most often consumed in tincture or powdered form and can be added to drinks and smoothies as part of a blend. It's highly unlikely that you would find Chaga mushrooms used as a food-type consumable.

The following values are based on 100 g of dried Chaga mushroom powder.

If you were using it in powdered form in a capsule or adding it to a smoothie, you'd likely only use approximately 1–2 grams per serving.

CaloriesRoughly 180 calories per 100 g of dried Chaga powder
ProteinProvides about 3.6 g of protein per 100 g of dried Chaga powder
FiberContains over 50 g of dietary fibre per 100 g of dried Chaga powder

Lion's mane

Lion's mane has been used to help improve memory and cognitive function. It's mostly found in supplement form, but there are more restaurants and stores offering Lion's mane in its natural state for consumption. It gets the name from its appearance — it looks like the mane of a huge fluffy lion.

Please note that the following values are based on 100 g of fresh Lion's mane mushroom.

You can also find it dried and added to powdered blends and tinctures.

CaloriesApproximately 43 calories per 100 g
ProteinProvides around 3 g of protein per 100 g
FiberContains around 4.4g of fiber per 100g

Turkey tail

Turkey tail mushrooms contain beta-glucans which are a type of dietary fiber that can help promote weight loss. By regulating the body's metabolism, beta-glucans slow down the absorption of carbohydrates which can improve blood sugar control in some people.

Turkey tail is not consumed in it's natural state, as even when cooked for hours, the texture is very leather-like. It's mostly consumed as a powder and added to smoothies, used in tinctures, or taken in capsules.

Please note that the following values are based on 100 g of organic dried Turkey tail mushroom powder.

If you were using it in powdered form in a capsule or adding it to a smoothie, you'd likely only use approximately 1–2 grams per serving.

CaloriesRoughly 200 calories per 100 g
ProteinProvides about 8.1 g of protein per 100 g, making it one of the highest protein-containing mushrooms
FiberContains around 70 g of fiber per 100 g

Reishi

Reishi mushrooms are high in protein which helps you feel fuller for longer and can reduce unnecessary snacking. They may offer anti-fatigue properties in some people and can assist you with that much needed extra energy for your workouts.

Please note that the following values are based on 100 g of organic dried Reishi mushroom powder.

If you were using it in powdered form in a capsule or adding it to a smoothie, you'd likely only use approximately 1–2 grams per serving.

CaloriesApproximately 250 calories per 100 g
ProteinProvides around 20 g of protein per 100 g
FiberContains around 10 g of dietary fiber per 100 g

Shiitake

Shiitake mushrooms have excellent anti-inflammatory properties and are often used South East Asian stir-fries and soups.

The following values are based on 100 g of raw (not dried) organic Shiitake mushroom.

CaloriesRoughly 35 calories per 100 g
ProteinProvides about 2 g of protein per 100 g
FiberContains around 4 g of fiber per 100 g

Maitake

Maitake mushrooms are very low in carbohydrates. Their fiber content provides a healthy environment for your gut bacteria to flourish, assisting with the well-being of your whole body.

The following values are based on 100 g of raw, diced Maitake mushroom.

CaloriesApproximately 35 calories per 100 g
ProteinProvides around 2.2 g of protein per 100 g
FiberContains around 3.5 g of fiber per 100 g

Portobello

Unlike some of the other more exotic mushrooms in this list, you can find Portobello mushrooms in most grocery stores making them a convenient mushroom to add into your diet.

The following values are based on 100 g or raw (not dried) organic Portobello mushroom.

CaloriesApproximately 22 calories per 100 g
ProteinProvides about 2.1 g of protein per 100 g
FiberContains around 1.3 g of fiber per 100 g

How to incorporate more mushrooms in your diet

If you aren't already familiar with the many different types of mushrooms available, figuring out how to get more of them in your diet might feel somewhat daunting. If you want to reap the nutritional and weight loss benefits of edible mushrooms then here are a few quick and delicious snack and supplement ideas that you can try out today.

For mushrooms like Lion's mane, Turkey tail, and Maitake you'll probably have to buy them dried from an online retailer. You rehydrate them before cooking and they are just as delicious as if you'd bought them fresh.

  • Sautéed mushrooms. Lightly sauté mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and herbs and spices such as parsley, thyme or tarragon. They make a delicious side dish or can be added to salads and omelets.
  • Mushroom soups. Create a hearty and healthy mushroom soup using various mushroom varieties. Add some vegetable broth, onions, and celery for a flavorful base.
  • Mushroom stir-fry. Incorporate mushrooms into your favorite stir-fry recipe for an extra boost of flavor and nutrients.
  • Mushroom supplements. If you find it challenging to include mushrooms in your daily meals, or there are access issues to finding the right varieties, you can opt for mushroom supplements. These are available in the form of capsules, powders, or tinctures and can be found in many reputable online health stores. You can even get a mushroom hot chocolate powder.
  • Mushroom snacks. Dehydrate mushrooms to make crunchy and nutritious mushroom chips. Sprinkle them with your favorite seasoning, and lightly bake them or use a dehydrator for a tasty snack without overloading on calories.
  • Mushroom toppings. Use sliced mushrooms as toppings for pizzas or sandwiches, adding a nutrient-rich twist to your favorite dishes.

Other benefits of edible mushrooms

Apart from their potential weight loss benefits, certain mushrooms offer a host of other advantages for mental health, immune system support, and even cancer-fighting properties:

  • Lion's mane. This unique mushroom has been linked to improved cognitive function and brain health. It contains compounds that may stimulate the growth of brain cells and protect against age-related cognitive decline.
  • Reishi. Known as the "mushroom of immortality" in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), reishi mushrooms are believed to have various immune-boosting properties. They contain bioactive compounds that may support the immune system and help the body fight against infections.
  • Turkey tail. This mushroom is known for its potential in supporting the immune system, especially for people undergoing cancer treatments like chemotherapy. Its polysaccharides may enhance the body's ability to fight against cancer cells.
  • Chaga. Rich in antioxidants, chaga mushrooms may help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation. Some studies suggest that chaga extracts could inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells.
  • Shiitake. Along with being a good source of fiber, shiitake mushrooms contain compounds that help prevent lipid deposition in the body. This could help with maintaining fat loss whilst trying to lose weight. They also contain polysaccharides, terpenoids, and sterols that may support cardiovascular health and aid in reducing cholesterol levels.

It's important to remember that apart from Shiitake, most of these mushrooms are considered to be medicinal mushrooms and aren't consumed in their raw form. You can find them in tinctures, capsule supplements, powders and powder blends.

Drawbacks to be aware of

While mushrooms offer numerous health benefits, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Allergies. Some individuals may be allergic to mushrooms. If you experience any itching, rashes, or difficulty breathing after eating mushrooms, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Toxic varieties. Not all mushrooms are safe to eat. Some wild mushrooms can be toxic or even deadly. Always buy mushrooms from reputable sources or consult with an expert before foraging wild mushrooms.
  • High purine content. Certain mushrooms have a high purine content, which can be a concern for individuals with gout or other related conditions. If you have gout, consult your healthcare provider before adding mushrooms to your diet.
  • Cooking precautions. To maximize the nutritional benefits of mushrooms, avoid overcooking them, as it may cause nutrient loss.

Edible mushrooms can be a very beneficial supplement to your efforts to lose weight and improve your general health. Not only are they delicious, but are a fantastic choice for anyone on a weight loss journey because of their low calorie, moderate protein levels, and high fiber content.

More reasons to include them in your diet include their advantages for mental health, immune system support, and potential cancer-fighting abilities. Make sure you remain mindful of any allergies, poisonous types, and cooking safety measures. Learning about the amazing world of mushrooms enables you to enjoy their distinct flavors and health advantages in a variety of delicious meals, drinks, and supplements.



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